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Home > News > PTI

US State Department confident of Congress passing nuclear bill

December 08, 2006 22:48 IST

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The US State Department is confident that the final passage of the bill to implement the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement by the House of Representatives and the Senate will be done today prior to the curtains coming down on the 109th Congress.

"It's coming down to the wire. They're finishing up on Friday in terms of their business," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in reply to a query in the midst of the hectic developments on Capitol Hill.

"My understanding is the reports that you cite, notwithstanding this effort that actually is moving forward, the schedules in terms of bringing items up for a vote both in the House and the Senate are unpredictable," McCormack said adding the issue of scheduling is the prerogative of the House and Senate leadership.

"We're working closely with them. It is continuing to move forward. And as the President has said, this is a top priority for us. So we are hopeful, and we continue to push to get this approved by Friday," McCormack said.

The spokesman was asked if Deputy Secretary of State Nicholas Burns is in India because New Delhi may not accept some of the provisions in the civilian nuclear legislation.

"Not as far as I know. I know that this can be a nerve-wracking process as you go through this, but this is how democracies work. The Indian government understands that. And we're sure that they appreciate it. And he's (Burns) going there to talk to them about the agreement, how to move forward on it, as well as how to move forward on the broad arc of our relationship," McCormack said.

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